Monday, 24 January 2011

European clubs have young Neymar in sights

He only turns 19 next week, but the scouts from the big European clubs have Neymar da Silva Santos in their sights once more after a four-goal salvo for Brazil at the Under20 world championships in Peru.
Neymar has clubs such as Chelsea and Manchester United in a lather after his quadruple saw off Paraguay and a clutch of agents are touting for business with at least four Italian sides also reportedly chasing after his signature.
Chelsea were first out of the blocks in the summer, making an initial bid of 35 million euros but Neymar elected to stay put for now in the belief it is too early to make the move to Europe.
The nimble forward-cum-winger currently plays for FC Santos, who know a little about breeding star names having produced not just Robinho but a certain Pele.
Pele may have won a World Cup winner's medal when even younger than Neymar but the latter has a precocious array of skills and Santos have a battle on their hands if he is to see out his contract through to 2015.
Many in Brazil consider the teen with the "Mohican" style haircut as a huge star in the making - even if he himself eschews comparisons with Pele - further comparisons have been made with late 1950s and early 1960s wideman Garrincha, Brazil's 'Anjo de Pernas Tortas' (Angel with Bent Legs).
Neymar was keen to play down his widely acclaimed individual brilliance after the win over Paraguay, saying Monday: "Brazil can score goals. We played very well against an excellent Paraguayan side. I am very happy."
But it has not always been sweetness and light for the teen.
Last year, Santos fined him for insulting both players and officials at Santos, including his skipper Edu Dracena.
Even so, his influence is growing as coach Dorival Junior was sacked just days after refusing to bow to demands at boardroom level to start him in a match against Corinthians.
His temperamental nature has to date acted as a brake on his progression to the full squad under new coach Mano Menezes, who left him off the squad which travelled to Europe for October friendlies even after he had been called up for an August friendly against the United States - he scored in a 2-0 victory.

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